Adult tuatara are terrestrial and nocturnal reptiles, though they will often bask in the sun to warm their bodies. Hatchlings hide under logs and stones, and are diurnal, likely because adults are cannibalistic. Tuatara thrive in temperatures much lower than those tolerated by most reptiles, and hibernate during winter. They remain active at temperatures as low as 5 °C (41 °F), while temperatures over 28 °C (82 °F) are generally fatal. The optimal body temperature for the tuatara is from 16 to 21 °C (61 to 70 °F), the lowest of any reptile. The body temperature of tuatara is lower than that of other reptiles, ranging from 5.2–11.2 °C (41–52 °F) over a day, whereas most reptiles have body temperatures around 20 °C (68 °F). The low body temperature results in a slower metabolism.
Burrowing seabirds such as petrels, prions, and shearwaters share the tuatara's island habitat during the birds' nesting seasons. The tuatara use the birds' burrows for shelter when available, or dig their own. The seabirds' guano helps to maintain invertebrate populations on which tuatara predominantly prey; including beetles, crickets, and spiders. Their diets also consist of frogs, lizards, and bird's eggs and chicks. The eggs and young of seabirds that are seasonally available as food for tuatara may provide beneficial fatty acids. Tuatara of both sexes defend territories, and will threaten and eventually bite intruders. The bite can cause serious injury. Tuatara will bite when approached, and will not let go easily.
Read more about this topic: Tuatara
Famous quotes containing the word behaviour:
“When we read of human beings behaving in certain ways, with the approval of the author, who gives his benediction to this behaviour by his attitude towards the result of the behaviour arranged by himself, we can be influenced towards behaving in the same way.”
—T.S. (Thomas Stearns)
“I look on it as no trifling effort of female strength to withstand the artful and ardent solicitations of a man that is thoroughly master of our hearts. Should we in the conflict come off victorious, it hardly pays us for the pain we suffer from the experiment ... and I still persist in it that such a behaviour in any man I love would rob me of that most pleasing thought, namely, the obligation I have to him for not making such a trial.”
—Sarah Fielding (17101768)
“... into the novel goes such taste as I have for rational behaviour and social portraiture. The short story, as I see it to be, allows for what is crazy about humanity: obstinacies, inordinate heroisms, immortal longings.”
—Elizabeth Bowen (18991973)